Archive for the ‘Silly Stuff’ Category

The recipe for banana loaf says 45 minutes preparation time, and 45 minutes cooking time. Wrong on both counts.  More like preparation time 3 weeks, cooking time more than 1 hour.

It all started when we had 3 vrot bananas.  So I hauled out the old favourite – Magdaleen van Wyk’s ‘Complete South African Cookbook’.

The recipe called for 2 eggs.  That was the first problem.  We aren’t egg eaters. So eggs got put on the shopping list and the bananas got turfed. Two weeks later we had more vrot bananas and eggs.  We have liftoff! Except that by now, Mr Muffin had polished off the 120g butter.  So butter goes on the list and the vrot bananas go into the bin.

Sunday night arrives.  Lovely time to bake while watching ‘Strictly come Dancing’ on the side.  Vrot bananas, check. Three week old eggs, check. 120g butter, check. 1 cup sugar. Oh heck. I used the last of it in the latest bird feeder mixture. So sugar goes on the shopping list, and I raid the pantry for caster sugar. Success! The flour, despite being 6 months old, is weevil-free, thanks to bay leaves.

The bicarb is not so lucky though.  I had no idea weevils fancied bicarb. The mind boggles at the digestion ramifications – of the weevils, that is. Seeing as the recipe called for 5ml, I took a leap of faith, fished out an apparently uncontaminated teaspoonful, and dissolved it in the required 65ml water.  It didn’t froth, as I expected it to. Oh well.

I sallied forth and mixed everything as instructed. All went well, except for the moment when the mixer toppled out of the bowl, switched itself on and spattered banana batter over the cookbook, kettle, toaster and fruit bowl (ever tried wiping a pineapple?). 10 minute break in proceedings to clean up the mess.  Time for a glass of wine.

I am pleased to report that the olive oil variant of Spray and Cook works well for the ‘pour the batter in a greased loaf tin’ part of the recipe.

‘Until done, about 45 minutes’ is very optimistic.  I pierced the loaf with a batter-spattered knife after 3/4 of an hour, and it came out very wet.  It took a few 5- and 10-minute stints in the oven (and another glass of wine for me) before said knife came out dry.

Despite all this, a delightfully moist loaf has been produced.  And in the time it has taken me to write this, Mr Muffin has gobbled half of it.  Now I’ll let him read about its origins…


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At least two novels have been published in English that did not use the letter “e” in the main body of their text. One was an English translation of a French novel that didn’t use “e” in its text. So this challenge ought to be simple, no?

Write 25 to 50 words that tell, show, or evoke a complete story of any kind, on any subject, entirely in English… without using the letter “e” even once.

One entry per author. No charge for entering.

Deadline: 11:59 PM Eastern Time, Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

Hyphenated Words: If the hyphenated word is generally considered a single word, it counts as one word. (Like “twenty-five” or “jack-o-lantern.”) Otherwise each part of the hyphenated word counts separately.

To submit an entry, use the SECOND contest shown on this link? (it’s beneath the main contest) and follow the instructions. If you don’t already have a Submishmash account, you’ll be prompted to make one.



“It’s a UFO!” was all around town. “Such a light at night isn’t common, so high up, swaying, sashaying.”

Paul sat still, smirking. Fabric and wood and string out of sight in his room. His flying oil lamp was a triumph.


I’m standing, waiting to pay. Mr Muffin is nagging for chips and biltong and sugary cooldrinks. I say no, it’s bad for him.
“Want a bag?” asks shop assistant, Thandi.
“No thanks,” says Mr Muffin, thumbing my way, “this bag will do.”


A photo of a smiling child on a swing is on my windowsill. It’s of a young Dusty. It’s not particularly good, as my dad’s shadow is in it. Prompting us that, although not with us, dad’s always part of our days, still living, knowing, capturing our moods.


– Mum, I’m marrying my cousin, David.
– You can’t.
– It’s not that uncommon nowadays.
– David’s not your cousin. David’s my son.
– What?
– I was drunk, long ago.
– Oh God. No.
– What?
– I’m carrying his child.

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I’m a sucker for dog treats. The more disgusting I think they are, the more delectable my dogs find them. Smoked pig’s ears are a firm favourite. They are often difficult to find, especially in Muslim-owned pet shops. This week they’ve been ousted by something even more revolting: smoked pig’s trotters, also known as walkaways.

I bought one as a present for Mr Muffin’s son’s canine terrorist, in the hope that it would distract her long enough from shoes, table legs, scrubbing brushes, or anything else remotely chewable.

The good news is that it worked.

The bad news is that it was rather difficult to explain to the person who brought their porker to puppy training why the terrorist was showing a particularly healthy interest in their precious little piggy’s haunches.

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So, where’d January go?

  • One hen party (Nude art class. Phowaaar!)
  • One wedding (Mr Muffin’s son. I wore a frock)
  • Two funerals (Girls, get your girls checked out, ok?)
  • Meals at Forries, Café Royale, Cape to Cuba, Bombay Bicycle Club, (Yum. All with wedding-related family)
  • Two braais (One was a gas braai, does that count?)
  • Two dinner parties. (One I can’t remember much – too many cocktails)
  • One AGM and one committee meeting (Got to do something responsible)
  • Five training rides for The Argus Cycle Tour (should have been closer to ten)
  • Four movies (Invictus, District 9, Julie & Julia, Avatar. More than we saw in the whole of 2009)
  • Five lectures at Summer School (SA Crime Fiction. Horrified to hear that prostitutes in Kenilworth are busiest at about 7.30am. Just after the nice daddies have dropped their daughters off at school)
  • 2 hours queuing in the Traffic Department – twice (the City has only just discovered that my husband died ten years ago and says he can’t licence his car if he’s dead. Must say they’ve got a point)
  • One audition (No luck)
  • One Bar duty at the theatre (Did my part in keeping turnover up)
  • One drunken cards evening, all girls. Raucous.
  • And now? My wallet is flat and my body is fat. ‘Roll on February’ takes on a whole new meaning.

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    Young men are rare in Cape Town, and even more so in amateur theatre.

    The play I’m in calls for some hard-to-find items: a Jose Feliciano LP, 1970’s ashtrays and furniture, Pomagne, and, you guessed it, a young man.

    I listed these on the front of my script, to remind me to look for them when I get a moment.

    This morning I found my script in the kitchen. Under the entry ‘Find Young Man’, a certain Mr Muffin had appended, ‘You should be so lucky’

    Does he really think the ‘xxx’ below those words are going to save him?

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    I’ve been exploring the interior of Mr Muffin’s not-so-new-any-more car.

    It’s very clean. We believe no child has ever contaminated the interior. I mean, what 7-year old car still has the protective plastic on the running board?

    The sunvisor has a flap over the mirror. When you open the flap a light comes on, so you can touch up your make-up, squeeze a spot or check for spinach any time of day or night. Cool.

    This warning notice on the rear of the sunvisor confirms my suspicions:

    “Secure children in the rear seats if your vehicle is equipped with them”

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    In Muffin Manor, I cook supper and Mr Muffin makes lunch.

    But a long weekend usually throws out the grocery shopping routine, so this week’s been somewhat improvisational.

    Last night, I’d forgotten about an early meeting, so rushed out of the house leaving a note next to half a box of chocolates: Hello Hunnee, Good news – we got a present. Bad news – it’s your supper.

    This morning there was a note on the kitchen table: Hello Hunnee, Sorry, the cupboard is a bit bare at the mo. Here’s R10 for the tuckshop at lunch.

    Mr Muffin: 1
    Dusty Muffin: 0

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